Tuesday, December 30, 2003
* New Year's Eve Statistics
Accroding to PizzaMarketplace.com,
- 67 percent of Americans said they plan to stay home this New Year's Eve, statistically the same as last year
- 42 percent of Americans plan to enjoy pizza on New Year's Eve
- 2 percent of Americans plan to have caviar
- In 2002, while 31 percent of Americans said they expected to go out on New Year's Eve, only 28 percent actually did
This Washington Post article gives me such confidence about the new and improved Iraqi police force. I especially love the interview questions (both of them) asked to the candidates.
Monday, December 29, 2003
Between my having the flu and the national media having nothing much to say, I haven't been posting. But I'm still thinkin about y'all. Have a happy holiday and I'll post something as soon as there's something to post.
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
*** Mad Cow
This mad cow thing is a big deal. Everyone's pissed at America right now and we're due for a snubbing. This gives all other countries (including our allies) the chance to bring us down a notch. Expect severe economic troubles for the beef industry.
*** Foreign Policy
Absolute must-read piece by Billmon about Republican foreign policy during the last few decades. It's a bit long, so if you don't have time today, go back and read it later. His analysis is much better than anything you can get from the mainstream media.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, and Jason Alexander are declining to participate in the Seinfeld DVD for financial reasons. Apparently they're only making about $100,000 per year for the syndication of the show, and they want more than a pittance for the DVD. Harsh. It's good to see that they're sticking together, though.
Friday, December 19, 2003
** Civil Rights / Habeas Corpus
Billmon has an excellent discussion of the two cases handed down yesterday by appellate courts regarding Jose Padilla and the Gitmo prisoners. It's a bit of a long read, and contains a lot of history, but if you are interested in this subject definitely take a look.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
This week's The Onion has a number of priceless items, including:
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
I just have a couple of points to make about the capture of Saddam. First, this is great news. The fact that it helps Bush is unfortunate, but the fact is that the world is a better place with Saddam in custody.
Second, I'm not so sure that this will, in fact, help Bush in the long run. I think the proper communications strategy for the left is to say, great, now that Saddam is gone, maybe our troops can come home and we can start reducing that $87 billion for Iraq. In short, set up expectations for success. When the facts on the ground begin to indicate that success is not happening, then the capture of Saddam will be seen for what it really is: a great step, but ultimately not sufficient to produce true victory.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
Josh Marshall makes a great point about what we can expect next Spring in Iraq.
From February through May, the Pentagon will cycle out almost all the troops now serving in Iraq -- 130,000 will be pulled out and 118,000 will replace them.As I have said before, things are going to get worse before they get better.
That means that at more or less precisely the time when you can predict there's going to be a maximum effort on the part of the insurgents to destabilize the new government and the process of handover, those insurgents will face US troops who, in almost every case, will have just arrived in the country.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
I'm really short on time today, but there are definitely some articles out there worth reading:
- Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq
- Iraqi town's balance of power stays in doubt
- Seymour Hersch's latest New Yorker piece on Iraq. His stuff is pretty much always must-read.
Monday, December 08, 2003
*** War on Terror
Must-read Newsweek article about how Bin Laden recently informed the Taliban that he's pulling Al Queda resources from Afghanistan for use in Iraq. This article is noteworthy for a number of reasons in addition to this headline. For example:
- The Taliban are openly speaking to the media, and openly operating in Pakistan. This highlights what a hollow victory we achieved when the Northern Alliance toppled Kabul.
- The article states that Bin Laden is reducing payment to the Taliban from $3 million to $1.5 million per month. Apparently Al Queda's funding has been affected by the US crackdown, which is at least some good news.
- This is also good news for for the people of Afghanistan. According to the article, Mullah Omar is pissed.
* Lord of the Rings
Apparently Peter Jackson wants to make The Hobbitt, but there are complicated rights issues to be worked out. Since The Hobbitt would probably make more money than any of the single LOTR movies, hopefully the business folks will find a way to resolve these issues.
Check out this amazing Washington Post article about security issues relating to foreign contractors in Iraq. The most newsworthy aspect of the article is that a bunch of South Korean contractors are pulling out due to security issues. However, the most interesting part of the article is the second page, which discusses the showdown between the workers and their management. The workers virtually kidnapped the managers, and forced them to negotiate a deal so that work could stop.
Sunday, December 07, 2003
Steve Gilliard's post entitled Where are we in Iraq? is worth a read. It's a two-parter, and the earlier post is better if you have limited time.
This NYTimes article discusses how the US is now fully using Israeli tactics to suppress the insurgency. There are several choice quotes in this article. For example, one town has been encased in razor wire, and the US is monitoring everyone who tries to enter or leave.
"This fence is here for your protection," reads the sign posted in front of the barbed-wire fence. "Do not approach or try to cross, or you will be shot."Apparently this is not a joke -- the military really believes it:
"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," Colonel Sassaman said.So surely we're winning over the hearts and minds, right?
But mostly, it is a loss of dignity that the villagers talk about. For each identification card, every Iraqi man is assigned a number, which he must hold up when he poses for his mug shot. The card identifies his age and type of car. It is all in English.English? No, really? English?
"This is absolutely humiliating," said Yasin Mustafa, a 39-year-old primary school teacher. "We are like birds in a cage."
Friday, December 05, 2003
** Culture Wars
And as a nice follow up to my previous post, conservatives are now pushing to replace FDR with Reagan on dimes. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I'd hate to see Reagan every time I look at a dime. On the other hand, dimes are so worthless these days that maybe that's about the right honor for him.
* Culture Wars
Ronald Reagon does not know it is Christmas, and he doesn't recognize Nancy anymore.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
* Culture Wars
20 Most Annoying Conservatives 2003
Monday, December 01, 2003
If you have the time, this very long New Yorker piece tells the full tale of the occupation, and how badly the US has screwed up the civil administration of Iraq.